The Smile of the Child
Member: NGO Premium
Voluntary Children's Association
10, Zinonos Eleatou Street, GR-151 24 Maroussi, Athens, Greece
The Smile of the Child: May 17 - International Child Helpline Day
“The Smile of the Child” stands by children 24 hours a day, every day, nationwide
On the occasion of the 17th of May, International Child Helpline Day, “The Smile of the Child” unites its efforts with international partners from across the globe by participating in an awareness-raising campaign on the vital role child helplines play for children.
“The Smile of the Child” is member of Child Helpline International (CHI). CHI is the global network of 181 child helplines in 147 countries and is based in Amsterdam. CHI supports the creation and strengthening of national toll-free child helplines worldwide, and uses child helpline data and knowledge to highlight gaps in child protection systems and advocate for the rights of children.
At the national level, “The Smile of the Child” has been operating the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056 since 1997, the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000 since 2008, as well as the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111, and, thus, contributes directly to preventing and addressing serious problems related to children victims of violence, abuse, neglect, disappearance, trafficking and bullying.
The European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111 was inaugurated in 2016 and operates under the umbrella of CHI providing its services for all children in Greece, including refugee and migrant children at risk and in need of support. The services of 116111 are free, available nationwide on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, with 6 interconnected centers as one, staffed by social workers and psychologists and a maximum waiting time of 11 seconds.
A Disaster Recovery Area at the Athens International Airport ensures the continuous operation of the helpline (similarly to the 1056 and 116000 lines) in the event of any emergency or crisis situation.
The lines are officially recognized as Emergency Lines and are interconnected with the European Emergency Number 112.
This year Child Helpline International highlights examples, stories and good practices from across the world on how child helplines use technology for the wellbeing of children and particularly reaching out to the most vulnerable groups of children and young people.
One of the good practices highlighted is the initiative of “The Smile of the Child”, CHI member from Greece and NGO SAWA”, CHI member from Palestine to support Arabic-speaking refugee and migrant minors in Greece by linking the child helplines.
The interconnection was made possible thanks to strenuous preparations and efforts from both IT teams in Greece and Palestine and is available free-of-charge, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
From now on when a counselor (psychologist or a social worker) at “The Smile of the Child” receives a call from a refugee or migrant child in Greece who does not speak Greek or English, a counselor from “SAWA” in Palestine can participate as part of a three-way call overcoming the language barrier. The aim of this interconnection is to provide individualized support and guidance in line with the cultural needs of children.
The inaugurating connection took place on the 9th of May 2018 on the occasion of an official visit of European Commissioner of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides to the Operational Center of “The Smile of the Child” in Athens and launch of the “Direct and Holistic Medical and Psychosocial Intervention for Refugee and Migrant Children in Danger in Greece” project, the Organisation’s first to be directly funded by the European Commission's department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).
Find out more information on the groundbreaking initiative of “The Smile of the Child” and SAWA and watch the video on the announcement of this collaboration on CHI’s website here.
2017 Statistical data from “The Smile of the Child”:
On the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056:
● 221.152 calls were received. 37.5% of these calls were related to reports for children at risk;
● 848 reports on serious cases of abuse for 1.656 children in total;
● Direct interventions were carried out for 237 children at immediate
risk. 87% of these children were in need of immediate removal from their family environment.
On the European Hotline for Missing Children 116000:
● 9.379 calls were received and 128 requests of support to operations of search and rescue of missing children. 113 children were traced.
On the European Helpline for Children and Adolescents 116111:
● 6.332 calls were received, whereas counseling services were provided to 3.818 individuals.
● Every year child helplines answer nearly 20 million contacts from children and young people worldwide;
● 24,434,747 is the number of times children and youth found the courage to reach out to a child helpline last year
● In Europe 4,297,867 is the number of times children and youth reached the child helplines mainly through phone calls (3,782,633). Other means of communication include SMS, emails, online chat and messages or visiting the child helpline
● Children in disaster areas and conflict zones are at special risk;
● Gender based violence causes several forms of violence against children;
● Child helplines listen, counsel, refer, assist and provide other essential services to children in need.